From many, there will be one. And while there’s still no guarantee contending athletes will win their own state at this point in the season, a number of elite performers are making a case for Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year consideration. Here’s the scoop on the latest top candidate.
Senior power forward, Hamilton (Milwaukee, Wis.)
Greatness Present: Chalk this story into the plus column in Looney’s bid for Gatorade Player of the Year—an honor that includes exemplary character as one of its three pillars: When Looney discovered his selection to the McDonald’s All-American Game, he wasn’t glued to the ESPNU broadcast of the announcements, but rather tutoring kids involved in Milwaukee’s Running Rebels Community Organization.
Looney is just the fifth player from Wisconsin to be named a McDonald’s All-American and the first since 2003. He received a congratulatory phone call from the only other Milwaukee native to make a McDonald’s roster – 1991 alumnus Calvin Rayford, who, incidentally, was Gatorade’s 1990-91 Gatorade Wisconsin POY.
“He told me congrats and enjoy the moment and have fun,” Looney told Milwaukee’s Journal Sentinel. “You only have this one time.”
Meanwhile, the unanimous top-15 recruit needs just 54 points to become the 22nd player in state history to score 2,000 career points. The gap he needs to close is the equivalent of two games for Looney, whose 27.4 points per contest ranks fourth in Wisconsin. After a disappointing 3-5 start, the 6-foot-8 forward has led Hamilton on a nine-game win streak.
Greatness Past: Looney averaged 26.1 points, 12.4 rebounds and 7.0 blocks per game as a junior, leading the Wildcats to the 2013 sectional semifinals. He participated in USA Basketball’s Developmental National Team mini-camp this past summer.
Greatness Future: Looney has signed with UCLA.
Make no mistake: The Gatorade State Boys Basketball Player of the Year races aren’t over, and the National POY race is now heating up. Time remains for one standout student-athlete among thousands to rise to the top of our list.Check back for daily updates on the top contenders making their case.